Summary: Sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C, 2013

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John 21: 1 – 19 / Do You Love Me?

Intro: Each person has been asked at least one of these questions by someone who has some “feelings” for them: Do you love me? Why do you love me? Or How much do you love me? If we were able to ask Jesus that question, he might answer: “I love you this much!” (Stretching out his hand to either side.) Verses 15 – 19 are the epilogue of this story. It is these verses I will use as my text for this morning’s message.

I. Let me begin by saying that in Greek, there are 4 forms of the word LOVE: 1) kinship or familiarity (storge), 2) friendship (philia), 3) sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and 4) self-emptying or divine love (agape).

A. VS. 15 – “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me more that THESE? There are some textual problems here

B. The word Jesus uses for love is agapatos. Self-emptying or divine love. What is the extent of Peter’s love? He answers , “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” (PHILIOS)

C. In 1st century Christianity the words agape and philo were used interchangeably since brothers and sisters in Christ were expected to love ach other with the love of their brother, Christ Jesus.

II. The other textual problem is with the word THESE. In GK. The word is “too-tone” (τούτων). The word in this context can refer to either persons or things.

A. Is Jesus referring to the other disciples? Do you love me more than the other disciples love me? In Jn 13: 37 Peter boasted that he would lay down his life for Jesus. But the reality was that he denied Jesus three times.

B. Simon Peter loved Capernum, his boat, fishing and home. Does Peter love these THINGS more than he loves Jesus?

C. Simon Peter, do you love the other disciples more than you love me? Do you put others ahead of me? Where does Jesus stand in relationship to others in the life of Peter?

III. VSS. 16 & 17 Jesus and Peter are on the same page. Both use the word PHILIO for love. Jesus asks Peter 3 times if Peter loves him. Is this a way of allowing Peter to undo his denial of Jesus?

A. Each time Peter responds, Jesus gives Peter a task: VS. 15 – Feed my lambs, VS. 16 – Tend my sheep, VS. 17 – Feed my sheep. The love Peter declares for Jesus brings not only privilege; but also, responsibility.

B. VS. 18 – Love often takes us where we would not normally go. Love often challenges us to do what we would not normally do.

C. The love of Christ can takes us away: away from the familiar, away from the ones we love, away from the comfortable, away from ourselves. What is the depth or the extent of our love for Christ? Where are we willing to let that love take us?

Conclu: Christ Jesus comes to each of us today as he came to Peter long ago. He is asking, “Do you love me?

Reba Macentire sings a song written by DON ROTH, TIMMY TAPPAN

Smile's not a smile until it wrinkles your face

Bell's not a bell without ringing

A home's not a home when there's nobody there

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